Thank you, Mr. President.
Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to make the following, additional remarks in a national capacity.
Italy welcomes the adoption of today’s resolution and is proud to be among its co-sponsors. The strong consensus of the General Assembly demonstrates that the ideal of the Olympic Truce is alive and powerful. We must now translate this commitment into reality. Looking at the many conflicts taking place around the world, the challenge looks daunting. Yet ancient history is there to prove that strong ideals backed by serious political commitment can overcome this challenge.
Italy appreciates the new elements introduced into the resolution this year, in particular the extension of the period of truce from seven days prior to the beginning to seven days following the conclusion of the Games, in line with the Greek tradition. The resolution also recognizes the important role of the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, as well as their partnership with the United Nations, in particular the United Nations Office on Sport and Development and Peace. These are crucial actors, together with civil society organizations and the media, to raise awareness on the extraordinary opportunity represented by the Olympic Truce. Specific efforts must be devoted to mobilize the youth of the world.
Italy is a strong believer in sport as a powerful tool and vehicle to promote peace and development. In 2009 we actively supported the adoption of the resolution regarding the granting of observer status to the International Olympic Committee. Last year we presented at the United Nations the “Intercampus” program, a non-profit social initiative of the Italian soccer team F. C. Internazionale, which provides assistance to needy children and young people in twenty-four countries around the world. Its aim is to give back to these children their right to play. Through football programs, youths learn teamwork and the meaning of fair play and gain access to health and education services often absent from their own villages. “Intercampus” proves that sport can make the difference in the daily lives of many persons around the world.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon once said, “Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers.” We hope that, next February, sport will speak the language of peace and inclusivity. It is with this spirit that we wish the best success to the Russian Federation for the organization of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.